Mongabay reports: According to research carried out as part of the ‘Metflux India’ project by the Indian Institute of Tropical Meteorology (IITM), Pune, the forest ecosystem shows a see-saw effect: it fluctuates from being a carbon source to sink during the course of the year with the change in seasons.
A forest is considered to be a carbon sink if it absorbs more carbon from the atmosphere than it releases. Plants sponge-off carbon dioxide from the atmosphere for photosynthesis, thus acting as carbon sinks.
In 2016, when Kaziranga National Park (KNP) in Assam, was hit by the ‘worst flood in a decade’, the forest ecosystem squirrelled away a “moderate” amount of carbon dioxide, a study conducted as part of the project, has said.
Researchers said waterlogging during monsoons have a key role to play in shaping up Kaziranga National Park’s capacity to be a carbon source and sink.
“Forests are known to be carbon sinks but there is wide variation in their behaviour. And tropical forests are also known to be natural emitters of heat-trapping carbon emissions,” said study author and IITM scientist Supriyo Chakraborty.
The ‘Metflux India’ project seeks to understand the source or sink nature of Indian forest ecosystems through installations of flux towers that measure the amount of gas – such as water vapour and carbon dioxide – and energy flux exchanged between the atmosphere and terrestrial ecosystems.
“From the analysis of preliminary data (of the year 2016), we can say that the KNP ecosystem is almost neutral in its carbon book-keeping. It is acting as a marginal sink as also a marginal source,” Chakraborty told Mongabay-India.
Access the study below: https://www.currentscience.ac.in/Volumes/116/05/0751.pdf